Kenneth called The Sapphire for Cassandra’s schedule and waited two days before returning. That made him seem less eager, didn’t it?
He pulled into the gravel parking lot half an hour before closing. The bouncer held out a plastic tray for his keys and coins, while another waved the handheld metal detector over him again. A third bouncer beckoned him through and he requested a VIP table. “What’s your poison?” the sequinned waitress asked. “A bottle of champagne.” He paused, “and, Cassandra.” She winked and dropped two coasters on the table.
“Oh, hello.” Cassandra smiled. Was that the same smile she gave everyone? He poured her some champagne and they toasted to their health. She took a small sip and offered him a dance. “No, thanks,” he declined. Not like this.
“I have to work,” she explained. “I’m sure you understand.” He did. He ordered two more bottles of champagne and tipped the waitress generously. He folded several bills for Cassandra. “Until closing time. Then I’d like to take you for steak and eggs, if that’s okay.”
“That is my favorite dinner-breakfast, as it happens.” She smiled. A little less polished this time. She joined him at the raised corner booth.
“What’s your real name?” he asked. She looked at him evenly. Was he one of those rescue mission guys?
“Here’s my card,” he wanted her to know he was well-intentioned. “Kenneth Taylor. That’s my office where you can find me six days a week…sometimes seven. My direct line and cell number are listed as well.”
“Yes, mainly. My background is accounting and I’m overseeing construction of a new office tower at 8th and Market–I’m one of the co-owners. It keeps me pretty busy.”
“Except during the witching hour when you can’t sleep.”
“That’s right,” he laughed.
“Simone,” she offered.
“As in, de Beauvoir?” he asked.
“It was an inspired moment.”
“I like it,” he said. He glanced at his watch and ordered two more bottles of champagne. The waitress noticed the previous two hadn’t been touched. “I have to open these,” she explained, “City by-laws.”
“Do you need to gather your things and sign out or something?” he asked, at T minus ten.
“I can’t leave with you,” Simone said. “Club rules.”
“I’ll meet you at the diner,” Kenneth handed her cab fare.
Simone got out of the cab and spotted Kenneth through the diner’s side windows. Was he going to be another headache, or worse? Maybe she’d be wiser to simply go home. She hesitated at the front door. He hadn’t seen her yet.
“The same as last time?” the waiter asked Kenneth. “Yes,” he replied. “She’ll be here in a few minutes, so please hold the order.” He placed a napkin over her coffee to keep it warm. “But you can bring Frank’s RedHot now.”
Simone laughed and hung her coat and scarf on the hooks behind their table.
Here is Part 1 of the story: Frank’s RedHot